Drunk driver crashes into Salem woman checking her mail, police say

Police: Drunk driver hits woman checking mail

SALEM, Ore. -- A Salem woman is in the hospital after police say a drunk driver left the road, struck the woman, and ran into some mailboxes.

Sandra Hill, 72, was checking her mail when she was hit Thursday morning near Northeast Fisher Road and Empress Way in Salem.

“I was so upset I was just crying and crying,” said neighbor Isabel Bickle. “She just was going to her mailbox. It's just unbelievable."

Hill was taken to Salem Hospital where she underwent surgery.

Hill’s husband, Jim, said he was inside the house when it happened.

“I was in another room and I heard the noise and looked out and she was sprawled out on the driveway,” said Jim Hill.

Joshua Lainus said he saw everything happen and it was surreal.

“When I went across the street to care for her, she was unconscious. I thought that was it right there, pretty worked up about it,” said Lainus.

The suspect, 44-year old Vanessa Marie Gienapp, left the scene of the crash but stopped a short distance away. She was arrested at the scene and faces charges of DUII, assault and reckless endangering. 

Sandy's husband, said if it wasn't for the mail carrier, the driver might still be out there.

“Thank goodness for the mail lady. She saw what happened and she blocked the street and the person didn’t get away with it,” said Hill.

“You don't think of the consequences of what could happen. I mean a life-changing incident because of this. It could have been one of my grandkids,” said Bickle.

Bickle said Sandy is the type of person who watches out for the neighborhood and is always so helpful.

“I can't believe it. She brought me the mail yesterday,” said Bickle.

Bickle said anyone who drinks and drives, or speeds on neighborhood roads need to think twice.

“In the wink of an eye you could just devastate someone’s life."

Jim Hill said he's hopeful for his wife's recovery.

He says this is the second drunk driving related incident in just a week near his home. He said people also speed all the time down his road. He's going to see what lawmakers can do to slow people down.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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